Raised-wood panels

Lending a note of formality to a room, raised-wood panels can be found adorning the walls of many a library, country club or elite hunting lodge. The panels appear to be carved and sculpted.

Raised-wood panels require a good amount of customization, even with precut kits, and entail a number of specialized tools for installation. MDF kits were designed with homeowner installation in mind, but if you’re not handy, you’ll want to hire a professional to ensure satisfying results.

Recessed flat-and-flush panels

The clean lines of this style suggest simplicity while still giving a blank wall character. One of the easiest ways to achieve this look is by exposing existing drywall behind the wainscoting treatment.

Prefabricated kits make this look easy to achieve, but some customization, particularly around staircases and corners, will be required. Prime your walls for painting after the wainscoting is installed so that exposed drywall behind the wainscoting is the same texture when your final coat of paint is applied.


So called because of the rounded bead milled along one edge and the second bead routed down the center, beadboard is a tongue-and-groove product that comes in different widths and heights. When installed, it appears as though each board is separated by a narrow bead of wood.

Beadboard can be purchased in prefabricated kits, which will cut down on labor, but it still involves some onsite manipulation. Some kits that "snap" together are easier, but may not achieve the polished, real-wood look you’re after.

Read the full story in the May/June 2006 issue of Timber Home Living.